When buying art, we all hope to have a head over heels moment. We fall in love with that perfect photograph, print or painting, whisk it home and hang it immediately. But when looking to expand your art collection and buy pieces for a specific space, sometimes it’s best to be a little more practically minded and do your homework before taking the plunge.
Ahead of a visit to one of our fairs, asking yourself a number of questions can really help get you into the collecting frame of mind. How much am I planning to spend? Where am I going to hang my new artwork? Do I want it to complement or contrast with my existing interior? Questions such as these can really help make sure that you pick a piece that’s right for you and your home in the long run, whilst also ensuring a more serene and enjoyable art fair experience on the day.
It may seem like an obvious suggestion, but spending some time having a proper think about the space you’re hoping to fill makes purchasing a piece of original art a whole lot easier. Style, colour, layout, dimensions: all of these are crucial components to make sure your piece works in your home and that you’re a good match! To help you get started, we’ve compiled a list of some of the best ways to ensure you’re primed and prepped for a visit to the Affordable Art Fair. Read on for all of our tips - and let us know how you get on!
Practical tips before visiting an art fair
Consider your space
Firstly, it’s worth thinking about the vibe and style of the room you’re buying for - be it your living room, kitchen, bathroom, bedroom or office. Many art collectors feel like different types of works, mediums or styles work best in individual rooms. Bold showstopper pieces might fit well in a large hallway or an airy living room; or, if searching for a piece for the bathroom, it’s worth thinking about hanging it in a splash proof spot, otherwise you’re on the lookout for a waterproof artwork!
To give you a helping hand, our online shop and website has plenty of artwork and blog posts to help you get inspired. You can filter styles such as abstract or minimalist to give you a sense of the types of work on offer - or check out our “Art For…” series (links above) which makes suggestions on buying artwork for the different rooms in your house. Remember - many galleries will be more than happy for you to return a piece if it’s not right - so it’s always worth having a chat with the gallerist before making that purchase.
Once you’ve had a think about the style, more practical considerations can take over. Don’t forget to measure up the space beforehand to make sure you don’t bring home a work that doesn’t fit on the wall! Plus take photograph of the room with you as a reminder of your décor – it will prove invaluable to refresh your memory in that critical moment of consideration.
Have a budget in mind
With so much on offer at our fairs, having a rough sense of budget can really help scale down the list of works available. Different mediums tend to be in different price brackets – you’re more likely to find a limited edition print for under £250 than a painting or sculpture – so it’s helpful to have some parameters in mind before you start browsing.
Just because a work is over budget, however, doesn’t mean it’s off limits. The galleries might have a smaller piece by the same artist up their sleeve - or, they may be signed up to payment scheme, like Own Art, allowing you to spread the cost over monthly or quarterly instalments. Having a sense of this before your visit can help you be realistic whilst also being best prepped to turn your art collection dreams into a reality.
Do your research
Spending some time on our online shop and website is another useful way to get into the right frame of mind. Ahead of each fair, check out the ‘Art Preview’ pages for the fair you are planning to visit. This will give you a sneak peek at some of the artwork highlights that our family of galleries will be bringing, featuring a range of styles and colours, mediums and materials. If something piques your interest, doing a little further background research on the artist can help you prepare to see the works in the flesh.
If you see something that really catches your eye, then our galleries will be keen to hear from you in advance. Get in touch with any questions or let them know if you’re planning to beeline straight one of their artists - they might even be able to bring a wider selection of a particular artist’s work to the fair for you to peruse.
Have a game plan
With over a thousand artists and so many galleries to meet and view, you can get a little art-struck when arriving at one of our fairs. And you’d be amazed at how many visitors arrive, head to the information desk, and ask the perfectly legitimate question - where do we start!? By making a plan on how to tackle the fair ahead of time, you can avoid feeling overwhelmed, making it a more relaxing, fun experience!
You might choose to move A-Z through the galleries, stopping at the wine bar for a tipple or having some lunch in the cafe as you go around. Or, you can download the fair guide ahead of time and highlight the galleries you want to hit. Alternatively, why not start your visit by getting your creative juices flowing – schedule your arrival to join in with a talk or a workshop, leaving plenty of time afterwards to chat to the gallerists about your potential purchases.
And there you have it! With our foolproof tips, you’re sure to feel like an art fair aficionado ahead to your visit. But don’t worry – we’ll always be there to help, don’t hesitate to speak to any of the Affordable Art Fair team or gallerists when at the fair.
A VERY prepared visitor at Affordable Art Fair New York.
Featured art from first to last:
A gallerist helps a visitor measure up.
An Affordable Art Fair gallerist chats to a visitor.
Online research is a great tip before an art fair.
Gallerists waiting to answer your questions at Affordable Art Fair Singapore.